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Cosmos host Tyson announces that philosophy can mess you up

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Nerdist interviews Neil deGrasse Tyson (podcast), who offers the opinion (20:19, h/t Nous) that philosophy can “really mess you up”:

Tyson - Apollo 40th anniversary 2009.jpg
Tyson, 2009/NASA

Still, he has one question for philosophers: “Why are you wasting your time?” Sigh. There’s no one like Neil deGrasse Tyson to demonstrate that philosophy needs its own Neil deGrasse Tyson.

File:A small cup of coffee.JPG Mug’s eye view: Tyson may have bitten off too big a piece here.

It’s one thing for Stephen Hawking to attack philosophers. Didn’t do him any good, but he is primarily a physicist, not primarily a science communicator. For his own sake, Tyson should remember that it is Carl Sagan’s desk he is known to have inherited, not Stephen Hawking’s.

The answer to his question as to why philosophers keep asking basic questions is that when things go badly wrong, it often starts at that level. One can certainly think of applications of that principle in Tyson’s own field of cosmology. See, for example, The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (cosmology).

See also: Problems with Tyson’s Cosmos ‘s series’ treatment of history.

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12 Replies to “Cosmos host Tyson announces that philosophy can mess you up

  1. 1
    The Karaite Heretic says:

    Still a childish concrete thinker, eh?

  2. 2
    Barb says:

    Philosophy and science have been intertwined since the days of the Greeks. Does Tyson really not understand this?

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    as to

    Still, he (Tyson) has one question for philosophers: “Why are you wasting your time?”

    Says the person who believes in a atheistic philosophy which holds that EVERYTHING in life is ultimately just a big waste of time:

    i.e. life itself loses any true meaning, purpose, and value without God:

    The Absurdity of Life Without God by William Lane Craig
    Excerpt: First, there is no ultimate meaning without immortality and God. If each individual person passes out of existence when he dies, then what ultimate meaning can be given to his life? Does it really matter whether he ever existed or not? It might be said that his life was important because it influenced others or affected the course of history. But that shows only a relative significance to his life, not an ultimate significance. His life may be important relative to certain other events. But what is the ultimate significance to any of those events? If all of the events are meaningless, then what can be the ultimate significance of influencing any of them? Ultimately it makes no difference.
    http://www.freerepublic.com/fo.....9706/posts
    video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJqkpI1W75c

    Jennifer Fulwiler: Scientific Atheism to Christ – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aw8uUOPoi2M

    What caused Jennifer Fulwiler to question her atheism to begin with? It was the birth of her first child. She says that when she looked at her child, the only way her atheist mind could explain the love that she had for him was to assume it was the result of nothing more than chemical reactions in her brain. However, in the video I linked above, she realized:

    “And I looked down at him, and I realized that’s not true.”

    a few more notes:

    “Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be a word without meaning.”
    CS Lewis – Mere Christianity

    ‘Finding information in life, in ALL life on earth, is very peculiar for information requires ‘meaning’ to exist before the information can be brought into existance. Therefore finding information in life is very close to finding actual meaning FOR life on earth.’
    – paraphrase UD blogger

    John Lennox – Is There Evidence of Something Beyond Nature? (Semiotic Information) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6rd4HEdffw

  4. 4
    Thomas Bateman says:

    One need only look torwards his “Stupid Design” talk to realise the extent of his philosophical ability. Concrete (intransigent?) thinker indeed.

  5. 5
    Axel says:

    By ‘philosophy’, I believe the poor soul means simply, ‘assumptions’. Only metaphysical assumptions, however, which fail to square with his own – if indeed, nihilism can be deemed an assumption correlative in any way with Reason – other than as its negation.

  6. 6
    Axel says:

    Perhaps, ‘consilient with’, would be preferable to ‘correlative with’…. if you’ll pardon my pedantry.

  7. 7
    Axel says:

    I think this would be a particularly propitious occasion for the atheists to send this Scourge of the Philosophers lots and lots of really good vibes.

  8. 8
    lpadron says:

    deGrasse Tyson = Dawkins lite

  9. 9
    Mung says:

    Not thinking can mess you up even more.

  10. 10
    melvinvines says:

    Cosmos, and Neil de Grasse Tyson: Evo-illusion at its Best…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wx3JRCgpmdM

  11. 11
    KRock says:

    I wasn’t even aware the show was on TV…. I can’t imagine the ratings are real high..

  12. 12
    wallstreeter43 says:

    He should change the title to this article to Bad philosophy comes from a feeble mind , like his bad design argument.

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